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Not too long into listening to Lyrycyst's "American Dream" you understand how he came up with his moniker. The Kansas City rapper is a fiery wordsmith, the best kind. Steven Cooper (Lyrycyst) was radically saved in the midst of a chaotic, desperate home situation, and he's never gotten over it. When a former party-friend invited him away for a week, Cooper had a life-changing encounter with Christ that had immediate effect. "It literally happened overnight," he says of his deliverance. "I don't know how, but my faith grew so fast. It was like all I wanted to do was rap for God, get my family on track, and tell us about what I went through." He's never lost the desire to tell, and thus, the new Kikstart Records release, "American Dream," a concept album born in the seed of that very week. Rippin' electric guitars open the album, as "Show Biz"'s fierce electronic distortions and old-school beats fill the air. From the get-go he earns respect for his agile rhyming, his technique as tight as anything Eminem is doing. His commentary on the music industry, while not completely fresh, is presented with a heat-seeking intensity that is impossible to ignore. And he gets props for sincerity as well, for it becomes very clear very quickly that Lyrycyst is preachin' from the heart. The tongue-twisting "Get Along" follows, catchy rhythms and straightforward lyrics, calling out for peace. "New Hit" starts with quiet acapella, but the fire comes on quickly as Lyrycyst rips into the evils of the conscious-dead corporate music machine and the culture's blind acceptance. Lyrycyst slices a vein open on the autobiographical "All in Vain," his revealing lyrics coming fast and furious, giving the glory up for the One who saved him. I loved this track, for its melodic foundation, for its fierce truth, and for its sheer heart. "What If I" is more of the same, telling the story of his 15-year-old mom and her struggles, giving her props for keeping him in spite of her struggles. It's real, it's powerful, and it's one of the best pro-life songs I've heard. Jody Lawrence's warm vocals add to the track's great heart. Lyrycyst doesn't shrink back from bringing the word of life, taking on the traps of sexual immorality (the mainstream "Devil Eye"), the selfish materialism of our culture ("Deny Him"), and the challenges of real love (the techno-edged "So Hard to Love.") His beats and arrangements never take the safe path, but continually explore the unexpected, and his passion and his raw talent are prominent throughout. The crunchy title track, with its discordant guitars and wildly splashy instrumentation is probably the most obvious example, but every track really reeks of gutsy power. Not an ounce of redemption goes to waste in the life of Lyrycyst, or a minute of his "American Dream."
Buy American Dream by Lyrycyst from our Christian Music store - isbn: 9785558132137 upc: 827550062223
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